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2017-08-17 / Front Page

Cheyenne River Community To See Business Complex

BY JIM KENT
LCT CORRESPONDENT

Eagle Butte, S.D. – Four Bands Community Fund has received $670,000 in grants to establish a business incubator on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The 5,237-square foot building will create a central location for economic development opportunities for small businesses owned by tribal members.

The grants are from Project Reinvest and the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Four Bands is was one of 55 organizations nationwide to receive a $500,000 award from the Project Reinvest: Neighborhoods grant program.

The non-profit organization also received a $170,000 Local Infrastructure Improvement Grant from the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The purpose of that grant is to construct or reconstruct infrastructure for the purpose of serving economic development projects.

Lakota Vogel is the group’s executive director. She said the non-profit serves Native American entrepreneurs on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and across South Dakota.

“One of the biggest points of feedback from them is it’s very difficult to find land in order to start their business and try it out,” explained Vogel. “So we…after 17 years…have decided to provide that physical space for businesses and coach them through the process.”

Four Bands has been working for the last three years to design an incubator program that will increase the number of local businesses, create jobs, and generate income for families. The incubator will provide physical space and support services that not only help with the launch of a business, but also ensure the business thrives on a longterm basis.

“This funding from Project Reinvest and the Governor’s Office is an important part of moving this project from the research and planning phase into actual construction,” Vogel observed.

Vogel noted that Four Bands already has entrepreneurs in mind to occupy the one-story building. Possible businesses include a restaurant, art dealers, a health food store, a clothing store and a dry cleaner. The facility will house up to 11 new businesses as well as a shared meeting space.

“We feel that this will be a big benefit for the area,” Vogel commented. “We consider it creative placemaking and we consider it an investment in our area. So we are making a statement by building locally in downtown Eagle Butte by saying ‘This is a place for business and we want to start off by investing and creating a place for businesses to start up.’ We hope that it will attract more local purchases from the community as well as tourists or outside purchases.”

The goal, according to Vogel, is to make a statement about investing in Native American communities.

Four Bands still needs to raise some $160,000 for the project. But Vogel has severable available sources to obtain that funding from.

Conceptual plans for the project are expected to be complete by year’s end with spring 2018 as the goal to start construction.

Founded as a non-profit organization in 2000, Four Bands Community Fund’s mission is to build strong and sustainable small businesses and increase their capability to enter the financial mainstream.

(Jim Kent can be reached at kentvfte@gwtc.net)

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